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“Not the best church visit in Rome but a genuinely unique experience nonetheless!”

Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
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$78.55*
and up
Small-Group Tour Crypts the Bone Chapel and Catacombs
Ranked #23 of 1,498 things to do in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Constructed between 1110 and 1130, this church of San Clemente is not one, but three churches built one above the other, with ruins dating from the earliest Christian times.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
5,503 reviews
3,533 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11,900 helpful votes
“Not the best church visit in Rome but a genuinely unique experience nonetheless!”
Reviewed March 30, 2012

Finished our second visit to San Clemente during a recent trip to Rome. While not one of our very favorite churches in the city, this Basilica offers a genuinely unique experience as you are able to visit an existing church as well as two layers of ancient Roman excavations in the form of an earlier 4th century church as well as even earlier 1st century Roman buildings and structures. Entrance to the main church is free but there is a 5 Euro fee for exploring down below. No photo taking is allowed, unfortunately.

What we like about Basilica di San Clemente is the mystique environment of climbing down into the lower floors to visit the ruins underneath the existing Basilica. There isn't a lot to see below but its interesting and unique nonetheless. In the main church area, you can find a very attractive 12th century Apse mosaic, nice ceiling painting, which is somewhat of a standard in Rome and a large, spiral-shaped paschal candlestick among other things.

Basilica di San Clemente can be found on Via San Giovanni in Laterano and is ideally visited in addition to the excellent San Giovanni in Laterano. If visited in the morning, you can then simply proceed to the Colosseum and Forum area attractions, which are just up the street from San Clemente. This allows you to see a magnificent church, then an excavated church (San Clemente), followed by classic Ancient Roman ruins (Colosseum and Forum), making a very good 1/2 to 3/4 day in Rome.

Overall, Basilica di San Clemente is not one of the magnificently beautiful church experiences you can find in Rome but it is genuinely unique because of the presence of two layers of history which exist and can be visited below the existing Basilica. It can also be easily included in a morning sightseeing experience that includes the excellent San Giovanni and Colosseum attractions. This is why it a worthy church to visit while in Rome.

Hint: There is very helpful information about Basilica di San Clemente on their church website (see TA listing website link). The website TOUR link provides a 3 layered map of the basilica grounds, offering perspective of the existing chapel and two excavated churches below. There is also a decent video, describing what you can see at Basilica di San Clemente, although it takes a long time to load and watch.

Visited February 2012
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4 Thank BradJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Beijing
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Favourite church in Rome”
Reviewed March 29, 2012

This is the most interesting church I have ever visited. There are many layers (literally) to this church making it a magical experience. Allow plenty of time to visit.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Paul C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Level Contributor
54 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Beggars outside”
Reviewed March 29, 2012

You can't get in or out of this church without aggressive beggars trying to get money from you. The church inside is ok, but not as good as the other churches we saw in Rome.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank JMacc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Landsmeer, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A church with 3 storeys”
Reviewed March 29, 2012

The first church dates from the 1st century AC and in the 4th and 12th century new churches were built on top. All 3 layers can be visited. Nice fresco's. Several maquettes visualize the construction phases.

Visited March 2012
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Thank Guy_de_Sinjoor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upstate New York
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120 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Thrilling to descend levels of rebuilding since 1 AD”
Reviewed March 29, 2012

The tour which was part of the Viator Catacombs tour was informative, stimulating and astounding to be able to descend the centuries old levels of reconstruction to before Christian to pagan level and a spring which we drank from!

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank LouiseUpstateNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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